When did Gay Pride stop becoming a celebration and start becoming a spectacle? If it were not for the “Equality for All” signs, I might have confused the event for Carnival and not Gay Pride 2011 on Miami Beach.
After all, the street played host to tanned bodies with painted faces, fake breasts the size of beach balls, and impressive swimsuit bulges, both authentic and altered.
There were enough condoms to shower the entire crowd and enough glitter to blind Stevie Wonder. As a healthy gay professional, I began to consider the reasons why gays should boycott Gay Pride.
1. Mockery. Gay Pride is the most visible gay event in a lot of cities. It does not present positive or serious images of gay men. While it is nice to have fun, Pride does little to garner respect for gay people by society. Perhaps there should be a place for rowdy festivities and a separately broadcast occasion where gays can celebrate tastefully.
2. Stereotypes Reinforced. Gays deserve the chance to make social strides that strengthen their collective reputation in the world. Instead, Pride perpetuates negative stereotypes of gay men as well as obsession of body image and sexual promiscuity.
3. Hypersexualization. The parade and events only fortify the idea that if you are a gay man, your sexuality is the crux of your identity. At a booth along the beach, men were selling, besides lube, a spray to prevent the spread of herpes. The product implied not only a gullible audience, but also a raunchy, sexually crazed one for those at Pride.
4. Stunted Progress. What legislator in her right mind is going to think gay men standing in the streets in too-small underwear should deserve any special rights? I feel being scantily clad symbolizes narcissism more than dignity for a history or a passion for social progress. What kind of homage would be paid to Martin Luther King, Jr. if for Black History Month, African Americans ran streets in thongs, booty shaking for beads?
5. Social alienation. We are all people, yet Pride divides the gay community from mainstream society in drastic, detrimental ways. How are non-gay people supposed to relate to or sympathize with sexual caricatures sucking dildos? Pride should sponsor events that have a more universal appeal, revered and shared with many sects of society.
6. Cliques. The roles of twink, jock, bear, daddy, etc. all become more obvious and isolating. I found the separation by body type made meeting people outside my physique near impossible. Mostly, men posed, and it was too intimidating to approach them.
7. Lost Purpose. What is the aim of The Gay Pride? If not to connect with other gays, make social progress, or bask in an earned appreciation for a minority, what is achieved?
As a float of oiled, half nude teenagers passed, a woman strolled her child into view, gazing at the parade. I couldn’t help but imagine what the outsider was thinking. Surely she was not impressed or inspired by the dehumanized men and women rubbing their nipple rings and flossing their backsides. Gay men, we need to prioritize how we want to be represented and respectfully treated by the world. Save the circus antics for Carnival.